Principal excited about Southwest's future

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Southwest High School's new principal couldn't be happier with his new job. The Willow Springs native arrived in Washburn this summer and took over the high school's top administrative post at the beginning of July.

"I'm just thrilled to be here," said Larry Sorrells. "I'm looking forward to this opportunity. It's been nothing but 100 percent positive so far."

The principalship at Southwest will be Sorrells' first. For the last eight years, Sorrells taught science at Willow Springs High School after entering the educational field later in life.

"Ultimately, I knew this is what I would wind up being," said Sorrells. "I just got a late start."

After graduating from Willow Springs, Sorrells entered St. Louis Christian College and was in the ministry for several years. He then worked for Nabisco Brands as a sales representative and for Dolly Madison as a regional sales manager for southwest Texas and southwest Louisiana.

Eventually, Sorrells married and moved back to Missouri with his wife, who was a school teacher at Willow Springs. Upon moving back to his hometown, Sorrells earned a bachelor of science degree from Harris-Stowe State College and became a science teacher. He also holds a master's degree in educational administration from Missouri State University and is currently completing a specialist degree at William Woods University.

Sorrells said he chose to come to Southwest as principal for several reasons.

"Southwest is a nice-sized school, and we have fantastic people working here," said Sorrells. "Also, I seemed to be wanted here."

Since arriving on the job, Sorrells said he has received an enthusiastic welcome from co-workers and students.

"This is such a neat place," said Sorrells. "I have been impressed with the professional of the staff. They have a willingness to take on new things. They welcome thoughts and ideas to make improvements to the school.

"Everyone has been very welcoming as well as kind and patient with me," added Sorrells.

Although this is Sorrells' first experience as principal, he believes he has the skills it takes to handle his new respon-sibilities.

"I think I have a sense of maturity and experience," said Sorrells. "I have a lot of experience dealing with people in a variety of situations, and I also think I'm pretty easy to get along with.

"I've had success leading people toward common goals," Sorrells said. "I want to make sure we're one voice, on the same track."

Sorrells also looks forward to building relationships with his students.

"Friendship with the students is not my main goal," said Sorrells, who plans to spend time in the classroom on a regular basis. "I want to be someone they can look to for guidance. I want students to look at me as someone who has their best interests at heart."

When asked about goals for Southwest High School, Sorrells said he was interested in pursuing designation as an A+ School and was also investigating involvement in the High Schools That Work program. Character education is another area Sorrells hopes to focus on this school year.

"I want to help develop programs that will benefit students once they leave Southwest," said Sorrells. "No matter what a child does career wise, it's important they have a character that allows them to be a good citizen.

Sorrells believes the future is bright for the Southwest R-V School District as a whole.

"I feel fortunate to be here," Sorrells added. "I believe Southwest is primed for positive growth and good things ahead."

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